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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Celebrating the Cowboy Rite or "Take this ye'all and eat it"

"Our goal is to reach those who enjoy the Western culture with the gospel of Christ, whether they're a working cowboy or a cowboy at heart"

So says the Rev. Gene Blankenship, Jr who supervises a ministry to cowboys at the Cowboy Church of Central Florida.

Services differ from those of most churches, although the elements are familiar: Bible reading, hymn singing and a sermon. But in this sanctuary, the hats stay on throughout, except for formal prayers.

In the arena, a black flatbed trailer serves as a pulpit and stage for the four-piece bluegrass group playing tonight. After an opening prayer, members of String Therapy begin the first of half a dozen songs they will play throughout the one-hour service.

The band asks for requests to be shouted out by numbers from hymnals, which are annotated with guitar chords so that worshippers can play along as they sing. With the small number in tonight's crowd, the emphasis is on String Therapy's virtuoso playing, including a moving fiddle solo on "Amazing Grace" by Jason Thomas of Ocoee.

Blankenship's brief sermon is full of ranch analogies, about breaking horses and bull-riding.

Sounds pretty interesting, I don't mind inculturation. It made me wonder what it might look like if there were a real "Western Rite" within the Catholic Church. Yeehah!


Blogger Carlos said...

I've seen those services advertised out here in West Texas. Don't plan on attending, though.

It's "y'all," by the way!

10:26 AM  
Blogger Fr. Seraphim Beshoner, TOR said...

Can you tell that I have spent too much time up North?

1:55 PM  

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